Month: September 2016

Ten Things: How to Create a Great Legal Department Website

In my last post I discussed how to “market” the Legal Department to the business.  One of the items I mentioned was the need to have a really good Legal Department website available to your internal clients (i.e., behind any company firewalls and available on the company intranet only – and not to the public).  I received several notes back from readers asking me to elaborate on what makes a Legal Department website “good.”  After sending a few responses I realized that this might be a question other readers have and the answer would make a good topic for “Ten Things” (and it seems like others are starting to ask the same question about websites).

The goal of a Legal Department website is threefold: 1) it markets the Legal Department to the business by providing business colleagues with easy access to useful information and materials that make their day-to-day work easier (e.g., form agreements); 2) it frees up time for the members of the Legal Department by allowing them to post useful information and materials and provide a place for “self-service” (i.e., company employees can find answers and documents on their own without having to directly utilize the time of the in-house legal team); and 3) it provides a private place for the Legal Department to store materials and can provide a single point of access to tools utilized by the lawyers (i.e., a Legal Department “desk top”).  If you can develop a website that meets these three goals you can significantly improve the delivery of legal services, lower costs, and improve efficiency.  You can also provide an opportunity for newer lawyers to “own” a piece of a project and show their leadership and problem solving skills.  This edition of “Ten Things” discusses some practical things you can do to create (or improve) your Legal Department website:



Ten Things: How to Market the Legal Department to the Business

It sucks being a cost center.  While a good General Counsel can argue all day long about how much value the legal department is adding to the company, at the end of the day her legal department is still a cost center to the business.  And if the business only sees you as just a cost center, then you will line up with the rest of the cost centers when the budget ax comes falling or the layoff machine gets cranked up.  This means all in-house lawyers should be focused on how to constantly market the department to the business.  This is important because while Legal is a cost center, it is – hopefully- an extremely valuable cost center and one the business believes delivers high value to the company (especially when compared to the cost of engaging outside counsel).  Moreover, if the legal department can show that it is responsible for money coming into the company or significant savings vs. forecast, then you have an even better story to tell.  Legal departments with a good story to tell occasionally get additional resources (as rare as that may be).

Unfortunately, the only experience most in-house lawyers have with the marketing of legal services are the “pitch” materials from Law Firm A or Law Firm B.  Those materials don’t really work for in-house lawyers trying to show the importance and value-added by the legal department.  This edition of “Ten Things” will discuss some basic and straightforward ways you can “market” the legal department to the business in order to help them understand what the department does, the value it brings to the company, along with developing friends and allies throughout the entire company – never a bad thing for a “cost center” to have in its pocket: